Let the Church Say Amen
Jesus Christ is asking each of us to invite more people to a true encounter and lifelong relationship with Him as His disciples. It is an element of our own baptismal rite to do so. Our evangelization efforts will require us to identify new, outward-reaching ways to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world given significant societal shifts over the past decades.
2020 African American Speaking Series

Sunday, February 9, 2020
11:15 a.m.

Friday, February 21, 2020
7 p.m.

St. Sabina
1210 West 78th Place

Chicago, IL 60620

Join the community of St. Sabina for the 2020 African American Speaking Series featuring Dr. Cornel West and Rev. Dr. William Barber. Dr. West will be speaking on Sunday, February 9 and Rev. Dr. Barber will be speaking on Friday, February 21. 

All are invited to celebrate African American History Month!
42nd Annual African American Prayer Service

Friday, February 28, 2020
9:30 a.m.

St. Rita of Casica Chapel
6243 South Fairfield Avenue 

Chicago, IL 60629

Save the date for the 42nd Annual African American Prayer Service, which will take place on Friday, February 28 at the St. Rita of Casica Chapel! More information to come. 

Saturday, March 7, 2020
12 - 4 p.m. 

The James and Catherine Denny Center
Catholic Theological Union
5416 South Cornell Avenue

Chicago, IL 60615

The Tolton Scholars cordially invite you to Harambee celebrating 30 years of the Augustus Tolton Ministry Program! The celebration will celebrate Rev. Donald Senior, CP, Dr. Opal Easter-Smith and Bishop Joseph N. Perry. 

Please RSVP by February 28, 2020 by visiting Please call 773.371.5411 with any questions. 
It Takes a Village
We must help our parishes and schools have adequate resourcing for vitality inclusive of finances, facilities, and leadership. Our renewal efforts must focus on new ways to create vibrant parish life, including compelling liturgies and the seven signs of parish vitality.
The Gospel of John Through the Black Experience

Every Friday in February
6 p.m.

Holy Name of Mary Church 
11159 South Loomis 

Chicago, IL 60643

All are invited to join in a four-week presentation and discussion on "The Gospel of John Through the Black Experience." Some of the important events mentioned in the fourth Gospel and their relationship to the experiences of Black people in the United States and abroad will be examined. 

For more information, please contact Gardis Watts at 773.547.5771 or
UIC's Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and UCAN present...
Between the Great Migration and Growing Exodus: The Future of Black Chicago? 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
12 - 2:30 p.m.

UCAN - Training Room
3605 West Fillmore Street

Chicago, IL 60624

Starting in 1980, Chicago’s African American population growth not only halted, but reversed. By 2016, the population of black Chicagoans had decreased by 350,000 from its peak in 1980. These population trends have attracted significant media attention and speculation about why black Chicagoans are leaving the city. Given these trends, UIC’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) set out to analyze what the data on population in Chicago can tell us about black migration into and out of the city.

All are invited to attend a talk on the historical context of shifts taking place over the past 100 years, providing a more detailed analysis of population change across Chicago neighborhoods from 1990 to 2016 and  where Chicagoans who are leaving the city are going. You can register for the event by clicking here
2020 Annual Augustus Tolton Lecture

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
4:30 p.m.

Catholic Theological Union
Room 210
5416 South Cornell Avenue

Chicago, IL 60615

All are invited to the Annual Augustus Tolton lecture given by Dr. Simon Aihiokhai from the University of Portland on "Rethinking eschatology in an era of systemic eveil - towards a theology of human wholeness: Reflections on the life of Rev. Augustus Tolton. 

Visit for more information about this and other upcoming events. 
The Healing Power of Prayer

Saturday, March 21, 2020
9 a.m.

Ss. Peter and Paul Social Center
12425 South Halsted 

Chicago, IL 60628

The Ladies Auxiliary of St. Peter Claver Court #236 are hosting their annual prayer breakfast on Saturday, March 21 beginning at 9 a.m. The speaker for this event will be none other than Fr. James Flynn from Ascension/St. Susanna Parish. 

Save the date and join us for what promises to be a morning that fills both the body and the soul! The requested donation is $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. For additional information contact Grand Lady Michelle Reed at 773.978.4994 or the church rectory at 773.785.1200 or visit

Mass Celebrates Father Tolton's Step Closer to Sainthood

By Joyce Duriga

Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate Pope Francis declaring Father Augustus Tolton “venerable” during a Mass with Cardinal Cupich Oct. 14 at St. Philip Neri Church, 2132 E. 72nd St.

The promulgation of the decree by the pope declaring Tolton “venerable,” which was announced June 11, means his life was formally recognized as demonstrating the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance at a heroic level.

Tolton is two steps away from possible sainthood. Once it is confirmed that one miracle has been granted by God through the intercession of Tolton, he will be declared “blessed.” For canonization, a second miracle is generally required unless the pope waives that requirement.

Two possible miracles through Tolton’s intercession have been sent to Rome for review, according to Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry, postulator of the cause. That Tolton has moved closer to sainthood drew many to the Mass to celebrate.

“I’m really happy that they are looking at his life and the things that he has done,” said Velma Barker-Hill of Holy Angels Parish. “Just to think that a miracle may have been performed in his name is something that really touched my heart.”

Barker-Hill said that as an African American herself, she has enjoyed learning about Tolton, who was the first native-born, African American man ordained a priest for the United States. “It is just remarkable and I’m always glad to hear about another saint, especially because he is African American,” she said. “I think it brings unity among us and this shows that we are all made in God’s image and likeness, that we’re very proud to be Catholics.”

Lisa Lease Adams of St. Katharine Drexel Parish learned about Tolton through people at her parish and, after studying his life, came to admire what he did for black Catholics. “Father Augustus Tolton was a very special man,” she said, adding that she looks forward to his canonization. “That would mean the world to me because things that we have worked for, they finally mean something. He died for things that need to be done.”

Franciscan Brother Raphael Ozoude is on the path to priesthood and draws inspiration from Tolton in his vocation. “I’m very inspired by his example of being the first black American to be ordained to the priesthood. I think in many ways he has inspired people like me. It’s very nice seeing someone who looks like you and who has been there … and who is preaching the Gospel,” Ozoude said.

Ozoude said Tolton’s canonization would be a positive thing for the Catholic Church. “I think it will show the world at large that there are a lot of black Catholics in the country because many people think that black Christians are Baptists or Methodists,” he said. “To see that the church actually comprises us and values us as one of the beloved people would inspire many to come and see the church really is catholic, every culture is valued here.”

Tolton was born into slavery in 1854 on a plantation near Brush Creek, Missouri. Before the end of the Civil War, his mother, Martha, fled slavery with her three children and settled in Quincy, Illinois.

There, Tolton was encouraged to discern his vocation to the priesthood by diocesan and Franciscan priests. However, he was denied access to seminaries in the United States after repeated requests, so he pursued his education in Rome at what is now the Pontifical Urbanian University.

Tolton was ordained for the Propaganda Fidei Congregation in 1886, expecting to become a missionary in Africa. Instead, he was sent to be a missionary in his own country and returned to Quincy.

After facing discrimination and racist taunts from local priests, he accepted Archbishop Patrick Feehan’s request to minister to black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1889.

Tolton spearheaded the building of St. Monica Church for black Catholics and worked tirelessly for his congregation, even to the point of exhaustion. On July 9, 1897, he died during a heatwave at the age of 43.

Cardinal Francis George announced Tolton’s cause for canonization in 2010.

Can I Get A Witness? 
The Holy Spirit is urging all of us to be witnesses to the compassion and redemption of Jesus Christ. We must come together in solidarity and bring the light and hope of Christ to a world in need.
26th Annual Archbishop James P. Lyke African American Male Image Awards

Sunday, February 23, 2020
2 p.m.
Georgios Banquets
8800 West 159th Street
Orland Park, IL 60462

Join the Knights of Peter Claver, Ladies Auxilary of St. Felicitas - St. Ailbe Court #181 for the 26th Annual Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM African American Male Image Award Luncheon on Sunday, February 23rd at Georgios Banquets. 

Come and join us as we celebrate and honor outstanding men and high school seniors for their service to the Church, school and community. Tickets are $50. 

Please call 773.259.6355 or email for more information. 
Interested in Expanding Your Agency's Staff Capacity? The Ignatian Volunteer Corps Can Help Carry Out Your Mission!

The Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) provides mature men and women the opportunity to serve the needs of people who are poor, to work for a more just society, and to grow deeper in Christian faith by reflecting and praying in the Ignatian tradition. IVC works in partnership with hundreds of community service organizations across the country.

To inquire, please contact Jacqueline Fitzgerald at 312.961.6206 or
Semi-Retired? Retired? Open the Doors of Your Heart!
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps may be for you! Members of this Jesuit service program volunteer in poor and marginalized communities two days per week (September-June), grow deeper in their Christian faith by reflecting and praying in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, and meet monthly with other IVC members and a spiritual reflector. IVC members serve as tutors, employment counselors, food pantry volunteers, elderly companions, hospital chaplains and more!  Detailed information is online at (click on ‘Chicago’). To inquire, please contact Jacqueline Fitzgerald at 312.961.6206 or

Visit the Black Catholic Initiative Webpage
Visit the Archdiocese of Chicago Augustus Tolton Webpage
Click Here by Wednesday, February 26 to Appear in the February Issue of The Drum!
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